A terrible thing happened during the year 2008 of our Lord.
Militants from a banned Pakistani terrorist organisation stormed the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai as well as 7 other locations including a Jewish centre, a women’s and children’s hospital and a school. In the end, 164 people lay dead.
A morbid view of humanity at its worst. Horrible stuff and something the world should never forget. It was India’s Bali bombing or London’s tube attack.
In what could have been well founded fears, the PCB pulled its 11 contracted players from the 2009 IPL. The rationale was that the players could be the target of revenge attacks.
That any sane person would attempt to link a nation’s cricketers and a terrorist act is beyond me, but tensions in these parts are deep rooted.
No government made the call to withdraw Pakistani players from the IPL. A sporting body did. The PCB.
It’s not the first time this has happened and sadly it won’t be the last.
Remember when Australia and the West Indies refused to play in Sri Lanka during a World Cup and forfeited their matches?
Dubai only exists on the cricketing map due to the security fears of playing in Pakistan itself. Sri Lanka learned in 2009 how unsafe that part of the world can be when they were shot at while riding the team bus.
Australia hasn’t toured Pakistan since 1999.
Move forward to 2014. There are still no Pakistani players in the IPL.
We have the following absurd situation.
– IPL team owners will not bid for Pakistani players, blaming the fact that they may struggle to get Indian visas
– The BCCI has wiped its hands of any responsibility for the issue, blaming the Indian government for not providing certainty.
– For its part, the Indian government has commissioned the BCCI to present to it a way for the Indian / Pakistani
cricket rivalry to be relaunched.
The BCCI has never requested pre approval for visas and the Indian government has not been proactive in giving certainty. Given the perceived risks of buying a player and not being able to play them, IPL team owners are not bidding on Pakistanis.
Its a classic blame game.
This is absurd. It is administrative incompetence at an amazing level.
Cricket is the loser.
A cynical person could conclude that the situation stinks of the BCCI using a political situation to show strength and control over the PCB. Given the BCCI’s form, this angle cannot be completely ignored.
It wouldn’t take much to fix the problem.
The BCCI could engage with the Indian government to provide visa certainty. The Pakistani players would then be free to make their own safety assessment of playing in the IPL. Those that put their names up for auction would then be free to be drafted by IPL team owners, without the fear that they will never be allowed to enter the country.
The BCCI, as custodians and owner of the IPL have the responsibility to fix this. However, given they have never been an organisation focused on the greater good, it probably won’t happen any time soon.
Or maybe those Indian administrators will prove me wrong.